Motorist Collides with Cyclist/San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

In this motor vehicle "accident," SUV driver "didn't see him" on a straight road on a sunny day

Mayor Sam Liccardo (in the blue shirt) on 'Bike to Work Day' in 2016. Photo: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious photostream
Mayor Sam Liccardo (in the blue shirt) on 'Bike to Work Day' in 2016. Photo: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious photostream

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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was riding his bike on the 600 block of Salt Lake Drive on New Year’s Day when he was in a collision with a motorist driving an SUV. According to a statement from the Mayor’s staff, the crash occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m. and he “…suffered minor fractures, but his injuries are not considered overly serious. He is currently resting & in good spirits.”

“Overall, San Jose is doing a very good job prioritizing high quality bike infrastructure which is most apparent in their Better Bikeways Network,” added the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director Shiloh Ballard, in an email to Streetsblog. “Sam has been one of the key reasons the City has been able to move quickly and in a cutting edge way. His commitment has empowered an incredible DOT staff to get things going.” In fact, she pointed out, a two-way cycle track was recently installed on Mabury, although it was a distance away from the intersection where the crash occurred.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the driver of the SUV was making a right turn. The paper added that no arrests were made. In a TV interview, a nearby resident who came to assist said the motorist said “he just didn’t see him.”

Is this really a proper way to design an intersection in a residential neighborhood? Image: Google Maps
Mayor Liccardo was reportedly riding on Salt Lake, the street crossing Mabury in this image, when he was struck by a right-turning motorist. Image: Google Maps

If that’s accurate, it’s a little difficult to understand how an attentive motorist who was watching the road and maintaining good situational awareness (and not texting or otherwise distracted) could “not see him” in the middle of the day with such wide-open sightlines as seen above.

The resident also said in the interview that motorists frequently speed through the intersection and that Mabury is a “straight shot” that people “race” down.

As to the reporting, Seattle advocate Glen Buhlmann put it well on Twitter, that media outlets and even the statement from the Mayor’s office continue to pre-judge this crash as an “accident” caused by a collision with a car or SUV, rather than a collision or crash involving a motorist–a person who is responsible for the safe operation of a heavy and frequently lethal machine.

Tweet

Meanwhile, Ballard added that advocates in the area “…look forward to continuing to work with such a great bike leader to further the transformation of San Jose into a city in which people arrive at their destination with a smile.”

Streetsblog will update this story as more information comes in. In the meantime, if you know this stretch of road, or otherwise have any thoughts on this collision, please post below.

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